CLEW talks to Luxembourgers abroad. Meet Liz Wenger, originally from Kehlen, Luxembourg, now living in Toronto, Canada.
1. When did you move away from Luxembourg, whereto and why?
I moved away from Luxembourg in 2012 with my Canadian husband and son. My husband got a job offer in Ontario and so we took on the adventure and moved to Toronto.
2. What do you miss the most and the least from Luxembourg?
Family is the most important thing and that is what I miss most of all. Of course, then there are all those familiar things associated with the place you grew up in; your friends, your house, your home town and knowing how everything works from administration to public transport.
There is something to be said for Luxembourg’s cleanliness as well. There is not a lot of litter to be seen in the streets compared to other cities/countries.
The rain in Luxembourg is the one thing I definitely do not miss! I am quite happy that my average annual sunshine hours went from 1487 for Luxembourg to 2066 for Toronto.
3. What do you appreciate most and least about your new country?
From a business perspective, I have found it quite easy to start a business in Canada and to establish myself as a writer and language teacher. The administrative burden has been minimal.
On a personal note, I find it very pleasant to be among Torontonians. Everyone is very friendly, helpful and polite. It is rare that someone doesn’t hold a door open or offer to help me with the stroller.
The traffic on the roads in Toronto is something I am not particularly keen on. There are a lot of cars that fit onto a 16-lane highway!
4. What was the biggest challenge / change for you moving to a different country?
I am struggling to describe the emotions of leaving your home and your family and going from everything being very familiar to everything being new and unkown. It is a journey of mixed emotions: excitement and joy on the one hand but nostalgia, sadness and even guilt on the other hand. It is not easy to leave your family behind, especially when you have young children. I often wish I could have taken my family with me to Toronto.
5. How often do you come back to Luxembourg and have you considered coming back for good?
Although we would love to visit Luxembourg more often, once a year is all we have been able to do so far. As to the question of coming back to Luxembourg for good, we haven’t excluded it, but at the same time, we are looking to create some stability for our almost three-year-old son.
6. In what other ways do you keep in touch with Luxembourg?
We are very grateful for the Internet and the many communication services that it offers! Now that my son can become quite absorbed when he’s playing with his toys, we take our iPad, sit on the floor, point the camera towards the action and just video Skype away.
There is a lot of emailing back and forth, too. I think Facebook is the medium of choice to stay in touch with friends more so than family. It’s nice to be able to share an adventure in progress or a funny story that happened without necessarily needing to write too much.
7. A shout out to (somebody in) Luxembourg?
I’m giving a big shout out to all those who are learning Luxembourgish and those who want to learn it! I hope www.learnluxembourgish.com is able to help you. Thank you for supporting Luxembourgish!
Liz Wenger, interviewed by Unni Holtedahl, April 2014